MARION, Ohio—The first China-built HPM machine—assembled in Foshan by Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery Co. Ltd.—is going to a U.S. customer, Pleasant Precision Inc. in Kenton, Ohio.
HPM North America Corp., a Marion operation led by seasoned HPM veteran William Flickinger, is preparing the HST press. The machine, with 220 tons of clamping force, was to ship to Pleasant Precision April 22.
"We're making some small changes to the controller, to make sure it's fully functional," said Flickinger, whose company also will handle sales, parts and service for Yizumi's line of rubber molding machines in North America.
One of the tasks is to change the controller language from Chinese to English.
Yizumi bought the intellectual property of HPM two years ago at an auction held at the closed-down plant in Mount Gilead, Ohio. The Chinese machinery company paid $325,000 for the IP, including the right to use the HPM name, engineering drawings and customer lists.
The HPM injection molding line uses the basic Yizumi design, with input from HPM North America. Yong Li, product development manager in Marion, coordinated the communication with engineers in China.
HPM North America employs 12 people at a 7,500-square-foot headquarters building and a nearby factory of about 18,000 square feet. Additional parts are stored at another building in Marion. The company is selling new presses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Flickinger said Yizumi wanted to enter North America with the well-known HPM brand name. And the Chinese rely on the expertise of the U.S, employees. Flickinger said eight of the 12 employees in Marion are former HPM people. Flickinger joined HPM in 1968 and was the former president in Mount Gilead. Other longtime HPM experts include Howard Radel, 28 years, Daniel Kane, 25 years and Don Jagger. Randall Clements, the general manager, has about 20 years.
"On injection molding, we are permitted to do any modification required to the machines. In other words, (Yizumi wants) to build more of a standard-type machine," Flickinger said. "It will be stocked here, but we can make modifications. We can add cores, we can add special sequences, things of that sort. They have no problem with us doing that."
HPM North America plans to create a showroom this summer, with two or three injection presses and a die-casting machine. Officials are negotiating to buy the entire industrial building.
HPM's die-casting equipment was a big attraction for Yizumi, which is China's second-largest maker of die-casting machines. Yizumi is building export machines to the HPM design.
"Their philosophy when they came here was, they felt the HPM line of die-casting machines was a higher-level machine than what they were offering in the Asian market, and this gave them an opportunity to get into a higher-technology marketplace machine," Flickinger said.
HPM North America has already sold six die-casting machines, four 2,000-ton presses and two 400-ton machines. That is a big number for the relatively small die-casting machinery market, Flickinger said.